State College, Pa. Thunderstorms this afternoon and Thursday night will bring the greatest potential for tornadoes in recent weeks and will target areas from central Iowa to parts of Wisconsin, Minnesota and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.
After storms produced strong winds, large hail and drenching downpours from southern Minnesota to eastern Nebraska on Wednesday, the threat for severe weather will shift eastward and southward into parts of the Upper Midwest and central Plains into Thursday night.
The upcoming severe weather outbreak brings the risk of tornadoes.
Cities in the threat zone for severe thunderstorms include Rochester, Minn.; Marquette, Mich.; Rhinelander and Eau Claire, Wis. and Des Moines, Davenport and Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
Other threats within this zone and farther south into western Missouri and part of eastern Kansas include straight-line winds strong enough to cause power outages and property damage, along with hail up to the size of golf balls.
Several inches of rain can fall in the pattern. As a result, there is also the potential for localized flash and urban flooding.
If you are driving and approach a road that is submerged in water, turn around and seek an alternative route to reach your final destination.
A strong storm system will push into central Minnesota this afternoon and southwestern Ontario Thursday night. A cold front associated with this system will slice to the south and east and spark intense thunderstorms.
Ahead of the front, building heat and moisture will provide the fuel for towering clouds and thunderstorms to ignite. Once the fuse is lit, the storms will carry over well into the night time hours.
For the Upper Midwest, this has the potential to be the most significant severe weather outbreak thus far this season and could rival that of other outbreaks throughout the nation this month.
According to Severe Weather Expert Henry Margusity. "On May 19 there were 25 reports of tornadoes over the central Plains and on May 10 there were 22 reports of tornadoes concentrated over Texas."
The tornado reports from earlier in the month are still being investigated for duplicate sightings of the same storm and for tornado versus straight-line wind damage.
"In terms of what typically happens during May, this month has been relatively quiet in terms of severe weather due to a lack of very strong weather systems in general," Margusity said.